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The Effect of Board Characteristics on a Firm’s Strategic Change

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The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between the characteristics of the board of directors and strategic change of a firm in the Chinese context. In this study, strategic change is defined as strategic deviation relative to industry norms and strategic variation relative to historical experiences. The size, independence and leadership structure of the board of directors are defined as the board characteristics. We then propose hypotheses on the effects of board characteristics on a firm’s strategic change. This study takes strategic resource allocation profile as measure to calculate strategic deviation and strategic variation, and then empirically tests and verifies the hypotheses using data from Chinese publicly listed companies in the information technology industry from the year 2006 to 2010. We find that the size, independence and leadership structure of the board of directors significantly affect both strategic deviation and strategic variation. Therefore, we conclude that board characteristic affects a firm’s strategic change. The conclusion of the study indicates that moderate reductions in the size of the board, increasing the proportion of independent directors and separating the roles of chairman and chief executive officer can facilitate promoting the process of strategic change for a firm in a dynamic environment. Through this study we re-examine the role and significance of the board of directors in strategic decision-making for a firm, and provide useful suggestions on how to form a board that can meet the needs for strategic change for a firm in a dynamic business environment.


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